NEUAC 2016 Annual Conference Press Release
Mary Thompson Grassi
June 6, 2016
For Immediate Release
Energy Assistance On Front Burner in Denver
570 national energy assistance leaders gather June 6-8, 2016
Denver, CO – The National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) is holding its annual conference in Denver this week to highlight the challenges of vulnerable households across the U.S. who struggle to afford home energy.
About 570 advocates, public officials and policy makers will share best practices from around the nation about how to leverage federal energy assistance funding and advocate on a local, regional and national level. Keynote speaker, Majora Carter, an urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster, will inspire conference attendees.
In addition, national leaders in the energy field will present on the topic “The Utility of the Future”, focusing on the impact on low-income energy consumers. Speakers include Phil Hasner, The Brattle Group; Barbara Alexander, consumer advocate; and Bill Malcolm, AARP.
In 2014, the national poverty rate was 14.8 percent and 46.7 million Americans lived in poverty, according to U.S. Census data. Though the economy is improving, the need for a program like the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) persists. Between FY2009 and FY2016, LIHEAP’s federal funding appropriation was cut by more than one-third. Because of these cuts, states have been forced to reduce the number of households served, cut benefits, or both. “Only one in five eligible households is being helped by LIHEAP,” said John Rich, NEUAC’s president. Rich added, “This conference brings people together to focus on solutions to energy poverty.”
“We are thrilled to be in Denver where our work makes a difference through the leadership of local partners such as Energy Outreach Colorado and Xcel Energy,” said Mary Thompson Grassi, executive director of NEUAC. “There are many organizations in Colorado and across the country that help people every day to afford home energy.”
NEUAC’s most prestigious public service award, named for Sister Pat Kelley who founded the national energy assistance effort, will be presented to Skip Arnold, executive director of Energy Outreach Colorado. The Victorine Q. Adams award, recognizing excellence and innovative work with a fuel fund, will be given to HeartShare Human Services of New York. Minneapolis, MN -based Xcel Energy will be recognized with the Corporate Excellence Award.
About NEUAC: The Coalition is national, broad-based and diverse. Its mission is to heighten awareness of the energy needs of low- and moderate income Americans. NEUAC members are working to reduce the energy burden of vulnerable households through advocacy, policy improvements and partnerships. The NEUAC is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization formed in 2013 by the merger of the National Fuel Funds Network and the National Low-Income Energy Consortium.